A sophisticated, muscular, and techy cruiser: Audi A5 Coupé review

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Audi A5 Coupé Review

The Audi A5 Coupe first hit the scene in 2007, marking the German brand’s return to the entry-level luxury coupe segment since the Audi 80 came to its death in 1996. In case you weren’t aware, the Audi A5 Coupe is based on the A4 Saloon, but of course it trades practicality for a more stylish, sweeping design. Not only does it have different bodyshape to its A4 sibling, but it also features a different bonnet, to help mark it apart.

It’s a very smart looking car if you ask me, especially when you select the S Line trim level as I have here. Also, can I just say, it’s refreshing to see an Audi that isn’t the generic shade of black, white, grey or silver that has become the norm. This model has been covered in Audi’s optional Tango Red paint, plus it’s also got optional 19″ wheels.

Speaking of wheelbase, the new A5 Coupe has a longer wheelbase than before, which should mean more space inside. Does that mean more space? Well not if you’re sat in the rear. With the driver’s seat set for my height (6’2″) the rear of the A5 Coupe becomes very tight, thanks to legroom that will be tight even for an average-sized adult.

Headroom is equally limited due to the swooping roofline, so the back is best reserved for children or smaller adults. On the plus side, it does offer a big boot, which has a luggage capacity of 465 litres. That’s 10 more than its predecessor, plus it’s 20 more than the BMW 4 Series and 65 more than the Mercedes C-Class Coupe.

Well that’s the boring practicality out of the way, what about the toys?

Now I’d be lying if I said that A5 didn’t offer a lot of tech, although I will admit quite a lot of it is optional. As standard, the S Line, which starts from £35,495, is able to offer 7″ touchscreen, navigation, DAB radio, Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity. However, if you’re generous with the options, you can benefit from the Technology Pack.

At a price of £1,395 it’s not what you’d call cheap, but I’d urge you to choose it if possible. Not only do you get a larger infotainment system – 8.3″ as opposed to 7″ – but you also get the simply glorious Virtual Cockpit, which is a joy to behold thanks to a crisp display and a good choice of different views. The technology pack also offers wireless phone charging, an additional Bluetooth slot as well as a 36 month subscription to Audi Connect.

This car also has the optional Comfort and Sound Pack, which costs a slightly more reasonable £1,295. This adds Bang & Olufsen sound system, keyless entry, hands-free boot opening, rear view camera and hill hold assist. That’s not all though, I’ve also got the optional Park Assistance Pack Advanced, which is priced at £1,350, and includes Audi pre-sense basic, 360 degree camera, Audi pre-sense rear, park assist, Audi Side Assist, Cross Traffic Assist Rear, and Exit Warning.

Enough about options, what about driving?

There’s a good choice of engines for the A5 – three petrol and three diesel, all of which are turbocharged. If you want a petrol, you’ll have a choice from either a 148bhp 1.4 litre unit, a 187bhp 2.0 litre unit, or another 2.0 litre unit, which produces 249bhp. If it’s a diesel you’re looking for then you can either have a 187bhp 2.0 litre unit, a 215bhp 3.0 litre V6 unit, or another 3.0 litre V6 unit, which produces 282bhp. Did you get all that?

Audi A5 Coupé Review
It may be the entry-level diesel, but the performance certainly doesn’t feel ‘entry-level’

The engine I have, is the entry-level 2.0 litre diesel, which offers 187bhp along with 400Nm of torque. It can either be mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox, or a 7-speed S Tronic, which is what I have here. Normally I’d prefer to have a manual, but I’m quite happy with this automatic gearbox because it’s responsive as it is smooth. You have to concentrate really hard to notice the changes and it works in the background with a typical amount of German precision.

Audi A5 Coupé Review
The S Tronic gearbox is responsive, but also smooth as velvet

Quattro all-wheel drive can be specified for this engine, but I’m running front wheel drive here, which isn’t a huge issue at all as grip is just fine, plus it means that the car is lighter. Speaking of weight, the new A5 Coupe is 60kg lighter than its predecessor, plus the engines are more powerful but also more efficient. This engine may not be the most powerful of the bunch, but it’ll still crack 62mph in 7.7 seconds and hit a top speed of 146mph, so it certainly isn’t what you’d call slow.

Is it entertaining to drive fast?

The A5 is a very competent car, and hugely efficient. So efficient, that you get a sense it would rather drive itself if it were given the choice. Because of this super-efficient mindset, the car feels cold and clinical in the corners. It would be rude to call it boring, because it’s not, but it won’t offer the ultimate thrill either. You won’t fall in love with this car, but you will quickly develop a strong respect for it.

It offers a good amount of grip in the corners, plus the new electromechanical power steering is well-weighted and direct, although I will say it feels a tad vague a little off centre. That fades away with more lock though, so it’s only a small criticism. Body control is well-judged as well, but you will get some understeer if you really start to push the car.

Audi A5 Coupé Review
Five driving modes are on offer; Auto, Comfort, Efficiency, Dynamic and Individual

On the whole, the A5 is just as efficient in the corners as it is everywhere else, and whilst it may not be super thrilling, let’s not forget the S5 and the RS5 are waiting in the wings for such a sensation. Where this car feels most at home, is cruising. There may be 5 driving modes on offer – one of which is dynamic of course – but you’re likely to feel more inclined to slip in to comfort and eat up the miles.

The A5 Coupe is a wonderfully nice place to be. The cabin is finished superbly, using soft touch materials and a level of ergonomics that feels second to none. Add that to the strong level of tech, and adaptive suspension – optional extra I’m afraid – and you’ve got a very comfortable and civilised cockpit. Even though this car has 19″ alloys, there’s little road noise that enters the cabin and wind noise is kept to a minimum as well.

This car has a lot of options – what exactly is standard?!

The A5 comes in just two trim levels; Sport and S Line. There is also an SE trim level, but you would need to opt for the Sportback model to get it. Sport starts from £33,845, and is able to offer 17″ alloys, electronically adjustable sports seats, LED interior lighting pack, electric boot release, 7″ Audi MMI infotainment system, navigation and a three month trial to Audi Connect.

The S Line adds to this with 18″ alloys, sports suspension, S Line styling, LED headlight and LED rear lights with dynamic rear indicators, seats trimmed with leather and alcantara, stainless steel pedals and illuminated door sills. As mentioned earlier, the S Line starts from £35,495. In case you’re wondering how much this model here costs, it’s precisely £47,770.

As well as the optional extras already mentioned, this model also has the Matrix LED headlights – which are brighter than the sun – memory function for the driver’s seat, privacy glass, Piano black inlays, and folding door mirrors with auto-dimming and memory function.

How frugal is it?

I think it’s about time I talk about fuel economy, particularly as I’m sure a far few of you watching will be have this as quite a large factor for buying this car. As you would expect from the least powerful diesel on offer, it’s very frugal. On a combined run, you can expect up to 65.7mpg and in my experience I was getting low 50s. CO2 comes in at 113g/km, meaning you’ll pay £205 for the first year of VED.

Audi A5 Coupé Review
That figure was following some more dynamic driving, in case, you are wondering why it is lower.

Just for reference, those figures are based on the 19″ alloys; the 18″ versions make the car slightly greener. For those of you looking to use the A5 Coupe as a company car, BIK comes in at 26%. In case you’re wondering, this engine is greener and more economical than the equivalent engine in the C-Class Coupe and the 4 Series. They’re not too far behind, but the A5 is noticeably better.

Final thoughts

The Audi A5 may feel a bit cold and a bit clinical, but it does lots of things very well. It’s a hugely capable and efficient machine that makes driving effortless. It’s comfortable, offers a decent boot, offers great tech – albeit with a little help of optional extras – it’s pretty frugal and it’s a handsome looking beast.

Audi A5 Coupé Review

Space in the back could be better, but if you’re worried about that, you can always buy an A4 Saloon of course. However, if you yearn for a smart, premium coupe, the A5 should definitely be on your shortlist.

Car Obsession Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Pros:

  • Sophisticated styling
  • Fantastic cruiser
  • Comfortable
  • Lots of tech
  • Hugely efficient
  • Frugal
  • Strong levels of refinement
  • Strong performance
  • Great choice of engines
  • S Tronic gearbox is smooth and responsive

Cons:

  • Can get pricey with options
  • Rear space is limited
  • Lacks driving enjoyment
  • Park Assist didn’t work very well

Rivals

BMW 4 Series

The A5 doesn’t exactly excel when it comes to driving joy/involvement, so perhaps the more entertaining 4 Series could be for you. Unlike the Audi, it’s able to offer you rear wheel drive to make it feel more like a sports car, but BMW’s XDrive is still on hand if you’re looking for a coupe with all wheel drive. You may find the diesel engines aren’t as refined as the Audi though, plus the boot is a little smaller.

 

Mercedes C Class Coupe

Like the 4 Series, the C Class is able to boast rear wheel drive, meaning it should be more rewarding to drive than the Audi. It’s also a cheaper car to buy, although the boot space is noticeably smaller, which may put some buyers off. It may also not be as much fun to drive as the 4 Series, but it should offer even more comfort.

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